India has a rich tradition of classical, folk and devotional music which has developed over hundreds of years. Indian classical music consists of a series of improvisations based on ragas (musical modes), so each performance is unique.
These 19th Century instruments are from the V&A Museum’s collection, some of which were acquired because of the beautiful way that they are decorated. However, many of the instruments in the collection, were transferred from London’s India Museum when it closed in 1879 and have been shown in international exhibitions. The V&A Museum acquired others from leading musicologists of the day, notably Carl Engel and Raja Sir Sourindro Mohun Tagore, who bequeathed a large collection in 1890. Several of these remarkable instruments are of an unusual or experimental nature.
The display is part of a digital project created in partnership with Darbar Arts Culture Heritage Trust. Find out more about these fascinating instruments and watch leading musicians demonstrate how the would have been played:
Founded in 2006, Darbar Arts Culture Heritage Trust (Darbar) believes in the power of Indian classical arts to stir, thrill and inspire. Through digital connectivity, shared experiences and enrichment we ensure that one of the finest art forms reaches the widest possible audience.
Darbar delivers premium quality live events, music education, broadcasts and digital engagement through artistic innovation and creative technology. We are also committed to providing a platform for new talent from the UK and India.